Top Frequently Asked Questions for Electrolysis Hair Removal

Are you thinking of having electrolysis for hair removal?  Here are the answers to the top frequently asked questions to help you understand more about this procedure:

1. Is Electrolysis Safe?

Electrolysis has been used for over 130 years, it has been approved as a safe and legitimate permanent hair removal method by the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration, who are responsible for public health and safety.  

Millions of people have been treated with electrolysis and it has by far the best track record for both results and safety.

To put things into perspective, laser hair removal has only been around for 30 years, just a quarter of this length of time.  So, whereas the long term side effects of laser hair removal are still being monitored, electrolysis has a proven track record.

2. Does Electrolysis Work on All Hair Types?

​Unlike laser hair removal, which is mainly suited for dark hair and light skin, electrolysis is suitable for all types and colour of hair.  

3 women with different hair and skin types

The colour of the hair or skin bears no relation to the effectiveness of electrolysis.

3. What Types of Electrolysis are there?

There are three types of electrolysis: thermolysis, galvanic and blend.  Here is a brief explanation of the three types:-

  1. Thermolysis - a tiny needle (about the thickness of a hair) is inserted into the follicle of the hair being treated and a high frequency alternating electrical current is applied.  The electrical current heats up the surrounding tissue and disables the follicle, causing the hair to fall out.  
  2. Galvanic - This is a similar process to thermolysis, except a direct electrical current (as opposed to alternating) is applied which causes a chemical reaction in the salt water solution that surrounds the root of the hair, which in turn denatures the follicle. Galvanic is slower (taking up to 30 seconds) for each hair to be treated and is the least favoured option for most electrologists
  3. Blend - This is simply a mixture of the two types of treatment.  With this method, more tissue can be destroyed but drawback is the time required to treat each hair is significantly longer than thermolysis

More in-depth information is available in our dedicated article about the different types of electrolysis.

4. Are there any Types of Electrolysis to Avoid?

Some clinics may claim to do transdermal electrolysis which works by applying electrical current above the surface of the skin rather than to the follicle directly.  This is not a very effective method of electrolysis because hair is a poor conductor of electricity and, consequently, only a small amount of the tissue surrounding the hair follicle is affected. 

This is the type of electrolysis used in home devices.​

We recommend avoiding this type of electrolysis due to its being a largely ineffective method of hair removal.

5. "I'm Afraid of Needles - Will I be alright?"

Whilst it is true that a really thin needle like device is slid into the hair follicle, the size of the needle is so small that the skin is not even punctured.  

It is nothing like having an injection or giving blood, where the skin is punctured and often a bruise may remain for a number of days.  

Most people who are scared of needles and injections have no problem with receiving electrolysis treatment.

We have published a separate article explaining in full what you should expect from a typical electrolysis session.​

6. Can Electrolysis give me Permanent Hair Removal?

In a word - yes.  

Electrolysis is the only method of hair removal that has been medically proven to give permanent hair removal in all cases providing the procedure is correctly delivered.

The FDA has even approved electrolysis for permanent hair removal.  Here is what the FDA says about electrolysis:-

"Electrolysis is considered a permanent hair removal method, since it destroys the hair follicle. It requires a series of appointments over a period of time."

The US Food and Drug Administration have deemed that electrolysis is the only method of hair removal that can be considered permanent on their Removing Hair Safely page.

Why is it important that the FDA have approved electrolysis?

7. How Long does it Take to Get Permanent Hair Removal?

There are many factors at play here and so it is very difficult to give an accurate prediction.

Electrolysis can only be applied to a hair if it is in the anagen (growing) phase.  These phases occur months apart - therefore it's impossible to have a single electrolysis session on its own and achieve complete hair removal

In most cases you'll need to have a number of electrolysis sessions over the period of least 12 months to achieve full permanent hair removal.

The reasons are explained more fully in our article about the lifecycle of a hair and electrolysis

More Information

For more information about electrolysis see our ultimate guide.